Entries in War (20)


Obama to Commemorate 60th Anniversary of Korean War Armistice

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama will commemorate the 60 year anniversary of the Korean War armistice Saturday, marking the end of hostilities on the peninsula.

Communist North Korea invaded South Korea with 135,000 troops on June 25, 1950, and three years later with more than 2.5 million dead, including more than more than 36,000 Americans who died in combat, the war ended.

Joined by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Obama will lay a wreath at the memorial in Washington, D.C.

On Thursday, Obama issued a declaration making today National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day, noting that the conflict “defined a generation and decided the fate of a nation.”

“We remember ordinary men and women who showed extraordinary courage through 3 long years of war, fighting far from home to defend a country they never knew and a people they never met,” Obama said in his proclamation. “This anniversary marks the end of a war. But it also commemorates the beginning of a long and prosperous peace.”

It is often referred to as the “Forgotten War,” because fighting half a world away garnered little domestic attention at the time. But the remnants of the conflict are still felt today. North Korea and South Korea remain divided, and there is still no peace treaty between the two countries.

According to the Department of Veteran’s Affairs there are still 2 million living veterans of that war.

“No monument will ever be worthy of their service, and no memorial will fully heal the ache of their sacrifice,” Obama said in the proclamation. “But as a grateful nation, we must honor them — not just with words, but with deeds.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Marking 9/11 Anniversary, Romney Renews Call for Withdrawal from Afghanistan by 2014

Jeff Swensen/Getty Images(RENO, Nev.) -- Mitt Romney Tuesday renewed his call for American troops in Afghanistan to return to the United States by the end of 2014 during a speech in Reno, Nev. The Republican presidential nominee remarked on the withdrawal as he delivered a speech that paid tribute to the eleventh anniversary of 9/11.
“While the war in Iraq is over, nearly 70,000 American troops will still remain in Afghanistan at the end of the month,” said Romney, who spoke to the National Guard Association Conference. “Our goal should be to complete a successful transition to Afghan security forces by the end of 2014.  We should evaluate conditions on the ground and solicit the best advice of our military commanders.”
Romney’s statements about troops in Afghanistan came after criticism of the candidate for not mentioning them specifically during his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention.
Noting that the 9/11 anniversary is not an appropriate day to talk about the differences between his and President Obama’s “plans for military and for our national security,” Romney did make veiled references to former criticisms he’s had of President Obama’s handling of foreign policy, namely that he believes the president should have had more open communication with troops and the American public about the mission of our troops stationed overseas.
“We can all agree that our men and women in the field deserve a clear mission, that they deserve the resources and resolute leadership they need to complete that mission, and that they deserve a country that will provide for their needs when they come home,” said Romney, who never mentioned the president by name in his speech.
“Of course, the return of our troops cannot and must not be used as an excuse to hollow out our military through devastating defense budget cuts.  It is true that our armed forces have been stretched to the brink -- and that is all the more reason to repair and rebuild,” said Romney. “We can always find places to end waste.”
Romney said that Sept. 11 was a “day to express gratitude” to those who have fought and are still fighting, specifically thanking the SEAL team “who delivered justice to Osama bin Laden.”
Romney’s campaign, like Obama’s, suspended political ads for the day, and the bulk of Romney’s speech in Reno Tuesday was dedicated to remembering the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Romney recalled his own experience that day, telling the crowd of hundreds of guardsmen and women that he had been in Washington, D.C. for Olympic committee meetings when he heard the first tower was struck.
“These, then, were purposeful acts, these were terrorist acts, these were evil and cowardly and heinous acts,” Romney said of his thoughts at the time.

 Romney paid particular tribute to the Guardsman’s service in the U.S., specifically thanking them for their work following hurricanes in the U.S., and those who have fought in Afghanistan.
“Time and again, it has been the Guardsman's hand that has lifted a child from rising waters, that has rescued a family from a hurricane's fury, and that has fed and clothed a fellow American whose home and possessions have been lost to nature's devastation,” said Romney. “It is a Guardsman who took out Saddam Hussein's tanks from his A-10, and who fought to secure the villages of Afghanistan. Thank you for that service.”
“As you know too well, our world is a dangerous place. And the attack on our homeland and citizens on September 11, 2001 reminds us that the mission of the Guard is ever more critical, and ever more deserving of our support and honor,” he said.
“More than a decade has now passed since that day of tragedy. But the visions and events are seared in the memory of every American,” he said. “We remember those who died. We marvel at the courage of those who stormed the cockpit when they became aware of the malevolent purpose of the hijackers. We hold up in prayer the families and friends who have lived in a shadow cast by grief. We draw strength from the selflessness of the first responders. And we renew our resolve to protect America from the designs of evil men.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


President Obama to Troops: 'I Meant What I Said’ on War, Veterans’ Care

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/GettyImages(FORT BLISS, Texas) -- President Obama told several hundred troops with the 1st Armored Division at Fort Bliss in Texas that he kept his promises as commander-in-chief during the past three-and-a-half years, ending the war in Iraq, drawing down forces in Afghanistan and redoubling care for returning veterans.

His record, he said, was proof that he can be trusted at the helm for four more years.

“I told the American people that all our troops would be out of Iraq by the end of [2011],” Obama said. “At the time I know some folks didn’t believe me. They were skeptical. Some thought the end of combat was just word games and semantics. But I meant what I said.”

“Two years ago I also told you that we’d keep up the fight in Afghanistan,” he said. “I’ve got to tell you the truth. This is still a very tough fight…. Just as in Iraq, we are going to end this war responsibly.”

The message, coming on the heels of the Republican National Convention and exactly two years after the U.S. ended combat operations in Iraq, was as much an appeal to war-weary voters as it was to the troops he leads.  Both constituencies are seen as key voting blocs by Obama’s re-election campaign.

As Obama spoke, his top aides pointed out that campaign rival Mitt Romney made no mention of war -- or the troops -- in his prime time convention address on Thursday night.  

“In an almost 45-minute speech, Romney didn’t find a moment to mention our troops in Afghanistan or how we’re providing for our veterans when they return home,” said senior Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod. “So American people last night didn’t get any straight answers from Mitt Romney. They got nothing but evasion, distraction and insults.”

White House press secretary Jay Carney said that he was “surprised” that Romney failed to “mention the 70,000 men and women who are serving in Afghanistan, executing a mission that is profoundly important to America’s national security in a conflict that was the direct result of an attack on the United States by al Qaeda.”

Romney campaign spokesman Ryan Williams noted that on Wednesday the governor addressed the American Legion national convention, a group whose invitation Obama declined.

“The Obama campaign’s attack on Governor Romney today is another attempt to politicize the war in Afghanistan, a war in which President Obama has dangerously based his decisions on political calculations, endangering our mission,” Williams said.

Obama has implemented a timetable for U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, with all American troops set to be out of the country by 2014.

The president last visited Ft. Bliss two years ago -- Aug. 31, 2010 -- to announce the end of the U.S. combat mission in Iraq.  Sixteen months later the final U.S. troops withdrew from that country after nearly a decade of war. Nearly 4,500 Americans died in the Iraq War, including 198 from the 1st Armored Division based at Fort Bliss.

“When I was here last I made you a pledge. I said that as president, I will insist that America serves you and your families as well as you’ve served us,” Obama told the troops. “And there again, I meant what I said.”

Earlier Friday, Obama signed an executive order to expand mental health services and suicide prevention efforts for veterans and military families.

“I know that you join me in saying to everyone who’s ever worn the uniform, if you’re hurting, it’s not a sign of weakness to seek help. It’s a sign of strength,” he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama to Visit Fort Bliss to Highlight End of Iraq War

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- As his Republican rivals kick off the final stretch of their campaign, President Obama on Friday will publicly remind voters of his record as commander-in-chief, traveling to a Texas military base to thank service members and commemorate a war he brought to an end.

Obama will visit Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas -- home to Army units that deployed in the Iraq War -- to hold a private roundtable discussion with service members and deliver an address to mark the two-year anniversary of the end of U.S. combat operations Iraq.  The last American troops withdrew from the country in December 2011.

The trip, billed as an official White House visit, is also an opportunity for Obama to highlight what is one of the signature achievements of his first term and the fulfillment of a popular campaign promise from 2008.

“His record is a substantive record when it comes to the profound commitment and decision to end the war in Iraq and bring our troops home.  And his record is substantial when it comes to supporting our veterans,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said Thursday of the trip.

The president will emphasize “the effort that his administration is continuing to make and steps that the administration is continuing to take that are essential to ensure that those who fought for us overseas are being fought for by us here at home,” Carney added.

Obama has repeatedly over the past three years sought to remind Americans of his pledge to bring the increasingly unpopular war to a close, hoping to leverage public support for his leadership on the issue into a boost in the polls.

After returning from his first visit to Fort Bliss on Aug. 31, 2010, Obama delivered a nationally-televised Oval Office address to declare Operation Iraqi Freedom over.  In October 2011, he took to the White House briefing room to herald a planned complete drawdown of U.S. troops from Iraq by year’s end.  Three months later, Obama hailed the official end of war in Iraq on a visit to Fort Bragg in North Carolina.

“This is an extraordinary achievement, nearly nine years in the making,” Obama said in December.  “And today, we remember everything that you did to make it possible. … Hard work and sacrifice.  Those words only begin to describe the cost of this war and the courage of the men and women who have fought it.  We know well the heavy cost of this war.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Praises Self for Ending Iraq War on Bloodiest Day of Year There

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/GettyImages(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama’s campaign on Monday released a video praising the president for ending the war in Iraq.  The clip comes on the same day that has proven to be the deadliest day of the year in that country.

A wave of attacks throughout Iraq Monday, involving IEDs, explosions and gunmen, resulted in more than 100 people killed and more than 200 wounded.

On Sunday, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, al Qaeda’s top leader in Iraq, released an audio message announcing, ”We are setting off a new stage of our struggle, with the launch of a plan named ‘breaking the walls.’”

None of those killed Monday appear to be American.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Rep. Joe Walsh: Iraq War Vet Opponent Talks Too Much to Be ‘True’ Hero

US House of Representatives(WASHINGTON) -- Rep. Joe Walsh’s Facebook page is flooded with negative comments after the Illinois Republican said Tuesday that his opponent, Iraq War veteran Tammy Duckworth, was not a “true” hero because she often makes reference to her military service on the campaign trail.

Duckworth lost both her legs after an RPG attack in Iraq brought down the Black Hawk helicopter she was piloting in 2004.

Walsh has not served in the military.

“My God, that’s all she talks about,” Walsh said of Duckworth’s military career in a video recorded at Walsh’s town hall speech Sunday and posted by Think Progress. “Our true heroes, the men and women who served us, my God, that’s the last thing in the world they talk about. That’s why we are so indebted and in awe of what they have done.”

Duckworth’s campaign bio is almost entirely dedicated to her military career. She is currently a lieutenant colonel in the Illinois Army National Guard.

“Congressman Walsh’s comments insult those who sacrificed to make this country free,” Duckworth’s campaign manager Kaitlin Fahey said in a statement. “Tammy is proud of her over twenty years of service with the Army and her family’s legacy of fighting for this country.”

In a statement Tuesday, Walsh insisted that he was not implying that Duckworth is not a hero, but instead criticizing her for speaking only about her military service and not about her policies.

“Of course Tammy Duckworth is a hero. I have called her a hero 100′s of times in the past four months,” Walsh said. “However, unlike most veterans I have had the honor to meet since my election to Congress, who rarely if ever talk about their service or the combat they’ve seen, that is darn near all of what Tammy Duckworth talks about.

“We are about four months from Election Day and the people of Illinois have no idea where Tammy Duckworth stands on these issues,” he said.

Emily’s List, a group devoted to electing women to Congress, launched a petition against Walsh over his comments Tuesday, saying “if Tammy Duckworth isn’t a hero, then there are no heroes in this world,”

“Tomorrow is a day for all Americans to honor the men and women who fought for our country’s independence. But instead, Joe Walsh is questioning Tammy’s service and sacrifice to this nation,” the group’s executive director, Amy Dacey, wrote in an email to supporters. “I am so completely outraged about this, and I am sure you are too.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


On Iraq War Anniversary, First Lady Solicits Veterans to Campaign

Chris Kleponis/Bloomberg via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- First lady Michelle Obama, whose advocacy for veterans and their families has defined her tenure in the White House, is now appealing to the constituency for political support for a second Obama term.

In a new campaign Web video pegged to the one-year anniversary of the start of the Iraq War, Obama touts her husband’s “promises kept” to veterans and solicits new members to the group “Veterans and Military Families for Obama,” which is tasked with mobilizing voters and collecting campaign cash.

“Nine years later, we remember those who gave their lives and honor the sacrifice of all the brave women and men who served our country,” Obama says. “In 2008, Barack made a promise that as president he would bring the Iraq war to a responsible end. He kept his word.”

The first lady says President Obama has done “everything we can” to support veterans as they transition to civilian life, including boosting the Veterans Affairs budget, increasing access to health care, expanding job training programs and enacting new tax credits for businesses that hire wounded service members.

“I hope you’ll join me in standing up for all those who have served. Visit to get involved and to learn about all the ways your president is working to support veterans and military families,” she says.

Monday night the first lady will appear on Late Show with David Letterman to promote her Joining Forces initiative and her plans for its upcoming one-year anniversary in April.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


President Obama: ‘No One’s Announced a War’

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- President Obama was heckled on Iran during his remarks at a campaign fundraiser in New York City Thursday night when a supporter shouted, “Use your leadership! No war on Iran!”

“No one’s announced a war, young lady,” Obama said, drawing applause from the crowd of 900 mostly young professionals who crowded a showroom at ABC Carpet & Home for a $1,000 per person gala.

“You’re jumping the gun a little bit there,” Obama added.

The comments come amid growing tension between Iran and the West over its alleged nuclear weapons program and as Israel reportedly considers a pre-emptive military strike.

Obama is expected to discuss the Iranian situation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House early next week.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


George W. Bush: Iraq, Afghanistan Wars ‘Worth Fighting’

ABC News(DALLAS) -- To the 30 percent of veterans who in a recent Pew Research Center poll said that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan weren’t worth fighting, former President George W. Bush has this to say: "I hope history proves them wrong.”

“The only way for there to be peace is for free societies to emerge.  And, you know, history takes a while to unfold,” he told ABC News correspondent Bob Woodruff in an exclusive interview over the weekend.  “I happen to think it was worth fighting. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have put them into combat.”

The veterans with whom he has met have all indicated that they were “proud to serve,” he told Woodruff during an interview in which the 65-year-old two-term president talked about his efforts to aid wounded veterans through the George W. Bush Institute.

The interview took place ahead of the Bush Institute’s Warrior Open, a golf tournament in suburban Dallas for military service members who were severely injured while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The tournament will take place on Monday and Tuesday.

In the wide-ranging interview, Woodruff asked Bush about a number of issues, including the topics making headlines in the race to select the next GOP presidential candidate.  Bush declined to answer.

“I’m not going to opine on the subjects of politics,” he said.

Four organizations that supported the recovery and rehabilitation of 2011 Warrior Open competitors and their families will be honored during the golfing event.  The organizations are Hope For The Warriors, Salute Military Golf Association, Semper Fi Fund and Troops First Foundation.

“I love these guys, love the women in service,” Bush said.  “And to the extent that I can help them, I will.  To the extent that I can herald their courage, I will.”

The Warrior Open is the second of two events of the Bush Center’s Military Service Initiative emphasizing the importance of sports -- such as mountain biking and golf -- for rehabilitating many of those seriously injured on the front lines.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


McCain Admits Americans Won't Allow Another Middle East War

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Americans suffering from war fatigue won't permit more U.S. military involvement in the Middle East, according to Sen. John McCain.

The Arizona Republican told Fox News Sunday that he still supports the decisions made by the previous Bush administration to invade Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks and remove Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein from power.

However, McCain admitted, "I also think we learned a lot of lessons, and frankly, I don't think you're going to see the United States of America in another war in that part of the world."

"I don't think American public opinion would stand for it," the 2008 GOP presidential nominee conceded.

McCain believes that the U.S. had no choice but to go after al Qaeda and its Taliban allies in Afghanistan when America was attacked 10 years ago.

Yet, "whether it's mismanaged and whether we underestimated the enormity of the challenge we faced, I think historians will judge," he said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio